0266. One of the best Medinas in Morocco (Mor 099--revisit)

Safi Travel Blog

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Get off the bus in a very classy, modern part of Safi, with a couple of cool fountains, and start making my way towards the heart of town... On my way, find a joint that serves one of my favorite dishes--cow head, so I sit down for a delicious meal.  Looks like Safi is going to be fun.

The boulevard goes downhill fairly steeply for a way until it reaches the market area. As I'm wandering around, a tall fish vendor rushes in front of me and demands that I play a song for him.  I try to just continue on past him, but he continues to block my way--I'm getting a bit unnerved by the situation... if this is a robbery attempt, it's a pretty strange tactic!  Finally, I make it clear that I have someone I need to see, and I'll come back later and we can play music together.

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Afterwards, I realize that this is rather typical Safi behavior--a bit more course and aggressive than what I'm used to--but they generally mean no harm... I continue on down the pedestrian mall, and find myself a decent, cheap place to stay.  Outside, I continue to hear shouts and loud arguements late into the night.
Safi is an absolutely magnificent city--and relatively undiscovered by tourists... Right now the government is putting a lot of money into fixing the city up... I think tourist would love the city--but might be a bit frightened by folks like my very determined fish vendor fan...

... Later I see a drunk fellow throwing glass bottles into the street, forcing traffic to a halt.  A policeman is standing nearby--and does nothing....

Anyway--sorry, Safians.

..don't mean to badmouth your city--I just figure I should tell both sides...

Next morning I’m off to discover the city... I start with taking a couple of clips on the cliffs overlooking a fierce sea... From here you can see all the different sides of Safi--the Old Medina, the Castle, the industrial port, and the rougher neighborhood where I stayed the night... I want to explore them all...

The Old Medina, built by the Portuguese has a very distinct Medieval feel--almost Romanesque with its many arches--it's definitely different from any other Moroccan Medina and is one of the best preserved ones.  Unlike other medinas, houses are not built into the wall--which is all stone and not plastered over... So you can hike all along the inside of the wall in a narrow alley, past little stone stairways leading to little alcoves in the wall.

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The Medina is also built on a steep hill--adding to its charm.  At the top is a gleaming white palace of sorts--a bit of a contrast with the rest of the architecture--but it all fits together perfectly.   Overall, the Roman-Portuguese-Moroccan blend is absolutely splendid...

Once I've had my fill of the Old Medina, I set out to explore the Castle right across the street.  Paid the 10 Dh fee, and had the place all to myself... Once again, one of the best castles I've explored here in Morocco, with its courtyard, the view from the towers, the winding stairways down to the lower chambers...
Take a lot of pictures and a couple of good video clips... then figure it’s time to move on...

Wander around the scruffier neighborhood to the south, good myself a good, cheap meal, then make my way back uphill to the bus/grand taxi station.

.. Let's go visit a couple of villages in the area...

Back in town later... 

After my village tour, I came back to Safi, decide to play my set up along the main boulevard in the classier part of town... Actually, as I walked around town, I find that a huge part of Safi is actually quite upper class--the villa sector stretches on and on forever... Found the Government District--with the City Hall etc. overlooking a very modern plaza with sculptures and modern art along the edges... it the middle is a giant sculpture of a tagine dish....

And that is it... my fabulous tour of Safi...

 

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photo by: nathanphil